The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.
I just saw the
60 minutes piece and couldn't
wait to respond. Like
many I thought that going to
college and graduating was the
ultimate and would put me in
a position to realize the American
Dream. However, like many
of you, Sallie Mae and HESSA
have made me question my whole
existence on this earth. Originally,
I borrowed or was given $8,000.00
by Monmouth College in the late
1980's, early 90's and that
amount has skyrocketed to $25,000.00
and is climbing everyday.
I made attempts to pay back
over the years, but was unable
to earn enough money to pay
anything besides basic living
expenses. I had a 4 year
period when my mother was dying
of breast cancer and I worked
part time to care for her.
I'm just gonna
put this out there and it's
obvious that a movement has
begun so why not take it up
Like most of you I want to start by saying I do not deny the debt owed and I am willing to take responsibility. But I want to know when the laws of the United States stop applying to the governement and more important PRIVATE agencies that say they fall under governement protection. I left school at the University of Florida in late 1981. Through a series of unfortunate events I was forced to declare bankruptcy in June of 1986. I was not informed at the time of my bankruprtcy that although student loans WERE dischargable that they had to be in repayment for five years. I went through the process and was discharged in Dec 1986. Now I did not know that but for a few months it was not discharged (for an amount at the time $4300). I went about my life and over the next forteen years moved to NJ got married and had children. In 1999 I was called by what was to be the first of many collection agencies that I was defaulted on my student loan and I owed over $12,000. I said there must be a mistake and explained everything to them and sent them all the documentation. They came back with there is no mistake and I owed it.
Now I was curious
about how the laws of protection
applied in this case and it
seems there are none. Your hearing
is done mail with no explanations
or rebuttals, just a denial.
I asked why they did not dispute
the bankruptcy at the time and
it seems THEY DON"T HAVE
TO! I said I have not heard
from anyone in almost 15 years
why didn't someone sent ANY
notice it seems THEY DON"T
HAVE TO! I asked what is the
staute of limitations with regard
to NO ATTEMPT on collecting
a debt in fifteen years. They
said they did try to contact
me but I ignored yet at this
point, just AFTER the amendment
in 1998 they had no problem
finding me. I asked if they
any kind of proof that any attempts
were made as all creditors must
supply, but you guessed it,
it seems THEY DON"T HAVE
TO! Now I am not a deadbeat,
they have already taken a couple
of tax returns for about $2500
and I tried to make an arrangement
to pay what should be a reasonable
amount but I got a reponse of
all or nothing. They can be
incredibly nasty people who
call anywhere, anytime under
federal protection (seems just
short of the Brown Shirts in
Germany 1938).If anyone has
an idea of how to re-establish
America as a free democracy
let me know!
I like many Americans
grew up in the slums.
My familiy could not afford
to send me to college nor could
I go in the military so i
could help support my college
expenses due to a my health
condition. When I graduated
from college my debt was about
$39,000. I got married
and had a difficult time paying
for my loan back at the amount
requested by Sallie Mae so I
went to an income sensitive
system that is just doubling
my debt. My debt has increased
to twice the amount I originally
owed coming out of college.
I still pay but watch as my
debt increases, what am i to
I borrowed money from Sallie Mae and The Federal Student loan program to attend graduate school. Unfortunately, after graduating and obtaining employment my salary could not cover my loan payments. As a matter of fact, my monthly loan payment to Sallie Mae alone exceeded my monthly salary! The Federal loan people were understanding and put me on an income contingent payment program. But Sallie Mae got downright nasty.
I went to school
from '94-'98 and borrowed about
$15,000. $1,000 Perkins,
$3,000 Direct Loans, and $11,000
Sallie Mae. I did not
graduate but kept up on my loans,
paying off the Perkins and Direct.
In an interview on PBS Elizabeth Warren spoke about the agreements and good faith between individuals entering into contracts.
I have a similar issue with banks, Sallie Mae and now I elected to have NYSHESC take over my loans just before defaulting because I'd been paying interest, only, for over fifteen years and couldn't obtain a balance of what was owed. Also, when they sell my loans, they don't give me full credit for all my payments and the balance has a life of its own.
This has affected my life, retirement prospects and peace of mine in a most profound way. I do not have any credit card debt and most other institutions that handle debt aren't interested in student loan inconsistencies.
I did not enter into the contracts lightly. I planned for repayment, selling my home, etc., however, the contract once reasonable, I believe, was "deregulated" by President Reagan and I couldn't get a straight answer from any institution holding the notes. They seem confused.
Also, during his administration there weren't any school districts hiring masters level teachers and there weren't ANY available NDSLs for teachers for graduate studies, although we had only five years to obtain the masters or else lose the teaching certificate. Later in his administration they allowed individuals to obtain home "equity loans" to pay off the student loans but my income did not qualify me for those types of loans.
To tell you how outrageous this has become, one example, one of the loans that I paid in full, I never received the note. The explanation I received was, "We don't do that anymore unless all the loans are paid." Then they sold the loans. I can't get an answer as to who has the notes or how much is owed or at what interest or when they expect these to be paid in full. They tell me, "Just keep sending the interest checks."
One representative at Sallie Mae confided that I'd payed interest up until 2002 on a loan that was paid off full in 1994 and I do possess the note for that particular loan. How could this be possible on loans that were signed off on 7%?
They will not give me an amortization schedule. Nor the amount of interest, or when I will begin to pay off the principal.
Although I have worked my entire professional career in high demand, low income area schools, my loans, which were GSLs, don't qualify to be canceled out through work as do my colleagues and I believe they are being treated under new agreements I've never even been informed of.
It seems unfair, probably illegal. More like a punishment rather than a repayment. At an initial consultation from an attorney he explained it would cost more than I could afford to straighten out my situation. I did what he recommended though, to demand information, but it's like talking to the wind. They ignore me or send me a payment history which makes no sense because my loans are supposed to be fixed interest loans of 7%. The balance on these documents goes up and down regardless of my consistent, timely, monthly payment.
My question: Who regulates these guys? How can I get some assistance? Should I live to retire, the new laws being passed will deduct the loans from my social security payments? This is too much.
Are consumers protected by the notes they sign for student loans? Isn't or don't contract agreements apply to these notes? Does Professor Warren or you have any knowledge of organizations or any collective bodies working to make right the terrible injustice that has been done to individuals like me? How much longer must I pay interest?
If you can steer me in the right direction towards advocates or others researching, presenting papers, cases or interested in this area of the law I would be eternally grateful and would even consider making you my famous eggplant parmigiana, or homemade cookies, or ...
Thank you for your consideration and attention.
You have absolutely great website, but I was wondering if you have any statistics on the average amounts people pay every month in student loans and also loan payments as a percentage of income? That would give a great picture on how Sallie Mae and others are crippling our nation's economy.
Keep up the good work - your site has inspired me to write my congressional representative, but unfortunately my district (13th in New Jersey) is not being represented by anyone right now, as my previous congressman became one of the senators for New Jersey and no special election was held to replace him. Guess I just have to wait until November...
I originally borrowed (education loan): $96,833.00
total amount once paid off: $271,027.86
initial monthly payments:
total amount paid so far: $27,433.49
I will absolutely not deny my ignorance in the beginning of my college career. I was the first in my family to go to college, and I was very excited to be accepted at Seton Hall University. I took out the entire tuition with Sallie Mae because that was what I could get approved for and they made it sound so wonderful with low interest, and flexibility.
Wow, I was in for a shock when I recieved the bill a week post graduation! My $96,000 loan (for all four years was already pretty hefty-- but manageable) turned into $271,027.00!!! My monthly payments started off at interest only. I did the select step for 2 years. Those interest only payments started at $450, and by the end of the two years turned into $800. FOR INTEREST ONLY! Here I am, entry level college graduate, can barely bring enough in to survive and need to pay that amount??!! But-- I knew it was my own fault and worked two jobs to make ends meet. Yeah, I was working 70-80 hour weeks-- but I would make due and eventually interest would go down. oh nooooo. Interest remained on the rise, and Sallie Mae was completely unforgiving.
2 years ended, and now I get my next bill with principle and interest. Low and behold-- it had risen to $1250.00 per month. I am single trying to support myself in NYC-- and this payment is more than 50% of my monthly income. Imagine that?? Yet there is no forgiving. I have tried to extend, to defer... anything for relief, but by the time I am done paying off my 25 years of payment I will be almost 50 years old. How will I possibly support children if I have such a hefty student loan payment? It is completely impossible. I am 25 years old with a great job-- but there is no way for me to be even remotely comfortable with any salary under 100,000. Even if I made 100,000 my Sallie Mae payment would still exceed 20% of my monthly income!!! And I am stuck with this for 25 more years!!! I will end up homeless and in a cardboard box at this point...
My story is fairly much the same as many others here. I attended college, graduated, and then went to law school for a year. Although I graduated college with honors and did well academically at a fairly prestigious law school, I decided that a career in law was not for me. After a period of mid-twenties indirection, I eventually settled down into a business career, marriage, and parenthood. All during that time, my student loans from the late 80's have ballooned from $16k in principal to over $50k with interest and "fees and penalties."
Like many, I do not dispute the original debt and would like to pay off the principal and a reasonable amount of interest. However, Sallie Mae, it's galaxy of collection agencies, and the corrupt, paid-off officials at the Department of Education won't hear of it. As many others here have stated, it is impossible to get any documentation of the original debt or an honest accounting of how the current balance on the loan is calculated. The position, especially on the part of the hired beggars/collection agencies, is that "you owe what we tell you you owe and you'll pay how and when we tell you to pay."
My spouse and I have a solid middle-class income, yet we can't even pretend to think about buying a home because of these student loans. Al Lord gets to have his own golf course, but my child can't have a backyard to play in.
I entered Stevens Institute of Technology in 1994 to obtain a degree in engineering & science. During the course of my stay I ended up taking out numerous federal student loans and one sallie mae signature loan. I was in my early 30's when I entered. I was subjected to taking out the signature loan because they pulled all of my financial aid due to a new policy which they did not share with the students one fall semester. i was told that i would not be able to attend class until i paid.
i have suffered physical symptoms due to anxiety-panic attacks. i have been unable to obtain employment of any steady nature. I will never be able to pay off the full amount of the loans. the administrators and president of stevens institute of refused any written correspondence regarding the matter now.
To tell your story, please go here.